Eat some cake, and watch some fireworks, too

MONT VERNON – It’s been a year of homespun fun in rural Mont Vernon. Five years in the planning, the town’s celebration of its 200th birthday hit all the right down-home notes over the course of 2003.

There was a parade and a pig roast, a pie-eating contest, swing dancing, a spaghetti dinner with TV personality Fritz Wetherbee, a car show and even a “Run Till the Cows Come Home” road race.

A stone wall now stands in front of Town Hall, its 125 feet of rocks lugged from as many different properties as possible to make it a true community project.

Now this town of 2,200 is capping things off with evening fireworks Monday. And lots and lots of birthday cake.

Atlas PyroVision Productions of Jaffrey will be presenting the 18-minute show at about 8 p.m.

“We went for more brightness than length,” said event co-organizer Zoe Fimbel, who thought 30 minutes in the cold was too much to ask of people. “We tried to have some common sense.”The folks from Atlas will be setting off the display from one of the highest hills in town, Fimbel said. The fireworks, which should reach heights of 400-600 feet, should be visible from anywhere in town, she said.

Pre-fireworks, Mont Vernon residents are being asked to bring an 8-inch-by-8-inch cake to the Village School. These individual squares will be placed side by side to create a much larger cake “tapestry,” which is in keeping with the year’s theme that “we’re all common threads woven together,” Fimbel said.

Among the cakes will be a few supplied by politicians, including Gov. Craig Benson and Sen. John Sununu. Rep. Charlie Bass will be speaking at the event. A member of his staff offered assurances Friday afternoon that the congressman would bring along a homemade cake to contribute.

Residents are encouraged to decorate their cakes with something that tells a little something about them and their families.

For example, Fimbel may adorn her cake with a can of Moxie to symbolize her family’s fondness for the drink. She admits that she is not artistically inclined, however, and may end up putting six Playmobile people on the cake to represent her six-member family.

People should also feel free to simply frost a cake in a solid color, as quilts needs squares of color to look good, Fimbel said.

While people do not have to bake a cake to come down and eat, Fimbel is hoping for at least 50 to 60 individual squares. If past participation in bicentennial events is any indication, she’ll get her wish.

She knows she can count on a core group of residents to be there.

Roberta Wilkins will be one of them.

“I think it’s a nifty idea,” Wilkins said of the tapestry birthday cake.

The 76-year-old plans on baking a cake, probably chocolate, and decorating it with a pine tree.

Her late husband’s family is involved in the lumber industry from “way back,” she said. While her husband did not continue in the family field, he and their two sons were always interested in forestry preservation in town, she said.

Wilkins knows what it takes to put on community events. She was the chairwoman of the town’s 175th birthday celebration.

“It’s been a very educational, thought-out celebration that tried to delve into past history,” said Wilkins, who rode in the parade this year.

“I’m a little concerned that people in Mont Vernon will be bored next year,” Fimbel said. She plans on encouraging others to take up the gauntlet and make some of the more popular activities annual events.

After all, who wants to wait 25 more years for the next pig roast?